Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Babies Placed In Incubators Decrease Risk Of Depression As Adults

Date:
November 11, 2008
Source:
University of Montreal
Summary:
Babies who receive incubator care after birth are two to three times less likely to suffer depression as adults according to a surprising new study published in the journal Psychiatry Research.

Baby girl laying in her incubator. Babies who receive incubator care after birth are two to three times less likely to suffer depression as adults according to a new study published in the journal Psychiatry Research.
Credit: iStockphoto/Jacqueline Hunkele

Babies who receive incubator care after birth are two to three times less likely to suffer depression as adults according to a new study published in the journal Psychiatry Research.

The surprising discovery was made by scientists from the Université de Montréal and Sainte Justine Hospital Research Center in collaboration with researchers from McGill University, the Douglas Hospital Research Centre and the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College in the U.K.

"In mammals, separation between mother and child after birth has always been considered a major stressor that can cause behavioural problems well into adulthood," says coauthor Richard E. Tremblay a professor of psychology, pediatrics and psychiatry at the Université de Montréal and director of the Research Unit on Children's Psycho-Social Maladjustment at the Sainte Justine Hospital Research Center. "Our hypothesis was that mother-baby separation resulting from incubator care could heighten depression in adolescence or adulthood. Instead, we found that incubator care could decrease the risk of depression two-to-threefold by the age of 21."

For this study – the first to examine the impact of incubator care on adult depression – the research team studied a subsample of 1212 children recruited from a longitudinal study launched in 1986. Children were recruited from Quebec kindergartens and facts on birth condition, obstetrical complications and incubator care were obtained through hospital medical records. Participants received psychiatric assessments when they were 15 and 21 years old. Researchers found that:

  • Of the 16.5 percent babies placed in incubators only 5 percent suffered major depression by age 21.
  • Among participants who were not placed in incubators, 9 percent developed depression, which is the average rate for general society.
  • Correlation between decreased depression and incubator care remained after factoring participant age, weight at birth, family adversity or maternal depression.

The research team also found that girls were three times less likely to experience depression by the age of 15 if they had received incubator care at birth. "This difference was due to the fact that more girls experience depression than boys during adolescence and how boys suffer depression in later adolescent years," says co author Frank Vitaro, a Université de Montréal professor and member of the Research Unit on Children's Psychosocial Maladjustment.

Chain of biological and emotional factors

The research team found that direct and indirect stimuli – not just incubators per se – could decrease depression. For instance, incubators are controlled environments where body temperature, brain oxygenation, sound and light are adjusted to maximize neuronal development. What's more, children who received incubator care as babies typically received more emotional support from their mothers throughout childhood because they were perceived as more vulnerable.

"Incubator care was not the sole factor that shielded participants from future depression," says first author David Gourion, formerly of the Université de Montréal and Sainte Justine Hospital Research Center and now at psychiatrist at the Hôpital Sainte-Anne in Paris.

"We believe that incubator care is a trigger for a complex chain of biological and emotional factors that helped decrease depression."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Montreal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Gourion et al. Early environment and major depression in young adults: A longitudinal study. Psychiatry Research, (in press)

Cite This Page:

University of Montreal. "Babies Placed In Incubators Decrease Risk Of Depression As Adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110153725.htm>.
University of Montreal. (2008, November 11). Babies Placed In Incubators Decrease Risk Of Depression As Adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110153725.htm
University of Montreal. "Babies Placed In Incubators Decrease Risk Of Depression As Adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081110153725.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) — President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins